Tigerpapers

Pondering the palimpsest and panoply of the planet.

Three Historical Poems

      “The City of Carthage”

Camped outside the city gate
Roman soldiers dug in deep
Faces grim and full of hate
Gazing at the towers steep
In the morn great Mars awake
Thirst of vengeance for to slake

Scipio inside his tent
Reads a scroll composed in Greek
While beneath the battlement
His captains to the soldiers speak
Not a man shall us defy
Where the Eagles o’er us fly

In the ancient city square
Whitened by the desert sun
The traders’ stalls were all left bare
A ceremony had begun
A throng around the temple wall
Paid fearful heed to their god Baal

Up the steps the priestess went
Wailing child on her breast
Swaddled young and innocent
A scion of the city’s best
The priest came forth to cast him down
His blood spilled on the shameful ground

Hannibal to home returned
Stroked his beard and cursed his lot
A lifelong hate inside him burned
Against the Romans long he’d fought
Tonight by ship to Greece I’ll fly
This thankless city here can die


“Teano”

The afternoon autumnal heat
With downward fearsome force still beat
Along a road by Romans made
The Thousand on their horses stayed
While forward toward a bridge did walk
Their leader sure while none did talk

In the south this group had fought
Shirts of red on all the lot
Sicily now in the fold
Freedom in their hands did hold
Now to Rome or Death they went
Behind their captain they were sent

A poncho from Brazil he wore
From his wife whose love he swore
Though ten long years her life had gone
Her striped wool scarf he too did don
Alone he walked with regal bearing
All around the men were staring

Garibaldi brought his force
To the king upon his horse
He shook his hand and spoke some words
None did hear except the birds
To Italy his life he gives
His dream must die so that it lives


“Gallipoli”

A grand campaign on Churchill’s order
Stop the Turk and cross the border
English, French, and Indian
Aussies, Kiwis first to send
Battleships and aeroplanes
Short will be our supply trains
Kill the German kill the Turk
To Istanbul with little work

Kemal watched from on a bluff
His men below in trenches low
Toil and struggle made them rough
Their colonel’s courage made them go
This their land they’d hold till death
And death would draw their final breath
Half a million stood and died
And greatly stoked their nations’ pride

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